Thursday, January 16, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: The Bronx Wanderers (1.9.14)

(Photos: Michelle Wilson)
Bronx Wanderers
King Center / Melbourne, Florida 

Garnering more big-
name endorsements
than a Coppola classic,
The Bronx Wanderers 
deliver  badda-bing,

There I was, blending my 5AM brew at Starbucks a few weeks ago, when I looked up and noticed a flyer pinned to the bulletin board on the wall, just above the half & half canisters and the packets of raw sugar. It read: THE BRONX WANDERERS - Live In Concert.

"Who on earth are The Bronx Wanderers?" I thought to myself as I shrugged my shoulders and headed out the door. Next came weeks of non-stop local radio ads promoting the upcoming concert. The group's radio ad pitchman was none other than award-winning actor, Danny AielloNow I was intrigued. After all, "the Don" wouldn't steer me wrong, would he? Then, Christmas morning, I looked inside the ol' stocking and what did I find? Two tickets to see — The Bronx Wanderers. Fuggedaboutit.

The Bronx Wanderers'
charismatic frontman, Yo' Vinny.
Multi-instrumentalist Vinny "the Kid."
Fast forward two weeks. I plopped down in my comfy front row seat a few minutes prior to show time and began immediately sizing up what was likely in store for the 1,000+ King Center  crowd. From the Broadway-style stage set to the impressive-looking drum kit, I quickly came to two conclusions: 1) This is gonna be a show2) The drummer is gonna be a beast.

Wanderers' patriarch Yo' Vinny and his two sons, Vinny "the Kid" and Nicky "Stix" kicked off the show with a chilling and skin-tight pair of Bee Gees classics ("World" / "Nights on Broadway") — my two initial assessments were dead-on.

Nicky "Stix" — a bona fide beast. 

Vinny "the Kid" — a versatile 
and entertaining performer. 

Yo' Vinny and Doug Ryniker 
commanding center stage.
In short order, the Bronx Wanderers production shaped up to be much more than the schlocky oldies revival that I surmised from the Starbucks flyer. From the state-of-the-art sound and lighting to the band member's impeccable professionalism and musicianship to an array of pop and rock classics spanning six decades, this was a rip-roaring rock show — Bronx-meets-Branson at a Van Halen  soundcheck. 

The six-piece combo was simply superb. Ringleader Yo' Vinny proved to be a charismatic party host, singing his heart out while engaging the audience with compelling personal stories and rapid-fire, witty one-liners. Having seemingly mastered every instrument on the stage, the 20-something Vinny "the Kid" is his own one-man show. With sticks twirling and non-stop over-the-head, cross-armed cymbal crashes, the (often) shirtless, tattoo-covered Nicky "Stix" possessed 80s-style showmanship combined with Travis Barker-like edge. Rounding out the group, saxophonist Jay Leslie's impressive résumé includes a stint with Sha Na Na, while bassist Doug Ryniker and lead guitarist Joe Bonasorte provided precision chops and an additional youth-factor.

Jay Leslie
Joe Bonasorte
But it is, as they say, "all about the music." And from the doo-wop / pop of The Four SeasonsDion and the Belmonts, and Paul Anka, to timeless hits from The BeatlesBeach Boys and Bee Gees, to even a taste of today's music scene, The Bronx Wanderers show covered all the bases and tied it all up into one appealing, high-energy, family-friendly package.

I've seen 'em all — hardcore KISS cover bands, complete classic album recreations and various other revival-type events. But for my money, The Bronx Wanderers deliver more (badda) bang for the buck. BRAVO!

-Christopher Long
(January 2014)

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  1. The Bronx Wanderers are the best that entertainment should be.

  2. I'm in Vegas, Just heard the Bronx Wanderers at South Point for the 2nd time they set the house on fire! there hasn't been a group with this munch talent in Vegas in Years... Don't miss 'em!

  3. just completed my trip from Las Vegas I travel there 3 to 4 times a year and see many shows .This Sunday night was able to see the Bronx Wanderers This was the best show I have seen in all mt trips there they were GREAT look forward to seeing them in the future Will follow there site. Look forward to see them again (Will even consider altering my travel plans to include catching there shows)
    cant wait for the next time I get to see them.